Greetings of Tiit Salumäe, a bishop of The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church, for St. John’s Congregation in St. Petersburg
Haapsalu, November 11, 2020
Grace and peace from our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!
I greet you in the words of Deuteronomy 31:6-8, “‘Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.’ Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, ‘Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.’”
The text transports us to the time when the leadership of the people is passed to the next generation. From God’s perspective, a leader always has great privileges, but he also has great responsibilities. Moses was an authority and a model. Joshua, Moses’ assistant, learned to be a good subordinate and received a lot of good advice from his leader. Teaching leadership is an important part of the church’s growth and survival. Unless new people come, the church members will only keep looking back to the past days. It is the congregation’s task to choose people who take responsibility for the work of the church.
St. John’s Church in St. Petersburg has a rich history followed by generations. I’m thankful for the almost ten years that we’ve been able to meet together again in our historical church. I’d like to thank all the pastors who have served the church, the chairpersons and members of the board for their good work. Unfortunately, because of the powerful epidemic and emergency we have not been able to serve the church on a regular basis. I don’t know yet if I’ll be able to be in St. Petersburg on December 13, 2020 to serve, attend the church’s election meeting, and elect the board. I have consulted Bishop Ivan Laptev and he will send me a special invitation.
Dear Bishop Ivan Laptev, Senior Pastor of the Church Vladimir Batukhtin, Pastors Enn Salveste, Kaido Soom, Concert Hall Director Jüri Leiten, activists and coworkers of the congregation. I’d like to thank Bishop Laptev for organizing the ministry in the church during the emergency. I wish and pray that there will be a functioning board in the church and good cooperation with Eesti Kontsert and that the administration of the church building can continue in peace and in the spirit of cooperation.
In prayerful fellowship,
Tiit Salumäe, a bishop of The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church